Sunday, 27 January 2013

Battle of the Unexpected Gun Lines

EMPIRE (Stylus) vs OGRE KINGDOMS  (Kasfunatu)

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Ogres vs Empire
Ogres at the top, Empire at the bottom. That blue biro on the right is not to scale.

The armies lined up in two huge flat lines almost filling the width of the canyon. Watchtowers guarded either end of the ravine, and the remains of gated paths could still be seen; in the centre a small oasis and a few trees had blossomed.

Despite the empire being more prepared and the ogres still yelling and bawling and hitting each other into position, they very quickly turned to action and started to charge across the battle field catching the empire by surprise.

On one flank, a pair of rhinox: one charged forward, the other holding back, hoping to pincer the light pisol wielding cavalry observed on the hill. Supporting them, six leadbelchers walk down the hill and seeing a group of heavily armoured knights, hope that their well loaded cannons will serve them well. Packed with a particular large number of spiky bits, they light the fuses, close eyes and wait for the inevitable cacophony that is to follow. On peaking, three of the heavy knights lay impaled and fall underfoot of the remaining who continue to advance.

The sound of gunfire continues, as the ragtag group of mercenaries all differently dressed, amble down the hill. All four raise pistols and take aim at the horde of empire spearman, but their shots are suprisingly accurate, and aiming straight for the paymaster and his chest. Knowing how his bribes would encourage a lot from the other men, he was a worthy target (and the wizard was not in sight). The accuracy of their shots can not be questioned and their paymaster bled out on his pile of gold.

On the other flank, a rhinox and a pair of mournfang clamber forward to the base of the watchtower, preparing for a devastating charge at the trio of war machines on the hill. There is only one paltry group of gunners between here the orges and their prey, and so the two ogre champions (one on rhinox, one on mournfang) open fire with their pistols. Their aim is true and as with all four shots finding their mark, the six remaining gunners turn on their heel and find cover behind the protective woodwork of the cannons.

In the centre of the ogre lines is the mighty horde; led by a slaughtermaster. His mass of ogres supported on one side by an even more armed and armoured group of elite soldiers, and on the other more mournfang cavalry and the mighty thundertusk. The thundertusk spits globules of ice, as the ogre mounted on his back levies his might crossbow at the empire horde. They both find their mark on the unit and ten of the spearman collapse.

The winds of magical are fickle and presently low, and the gesticulating as much as he does, nothing of value happens.

The empire smile, they know they have firepower on their side, and the approaching ogres are just getting closer into range.

Behind the protective shield of the cannons (and the abuse from the engineer), the gunners recover their resolve.

One cannon fires at the horde; but the cannonball just ripples on the front ogre's chest. He is winded, but the cannonball drops to the floor doing - no further harm. The second cannon decides to find another target, and adjusts to take on the cavalry flank. The empire calls for the crew to hit the mournfang, but by luck or judgement miss and the ball crashes into the rhinox's leg, there is a cracking of bones and the rhinox is slowed.

Also on the hill top a volley gun is cranked and twenty crossbow men all take aim at the horde. Arrow after arrow fly through the air; but in their eagerness the final barrel of the volley skips out of gear, and several of the arrows fall short. The volley is more devastating than the cannon, and two ogres drop.

Biding their time, the empire spearman stamp feet and wait behind fences and other obstacles, convinced that this will present the ogres trouble crossing. Amongst their ranks the general of the army keeps order, and the wizard tries to keep his magics in check. Hiding behind the unit is a shadow wizard... she also patiently waits for the enemy to approach.

Supporting the spearman, another unit of crossbowmen take aim at the maneaters who had just killed their accountant... whether fear or distance, their shots bounce off the ogres' armour.

The heavy cavalry move forward blowing their horn to try and reform quickly - but in the noise on the battlefield this is not heard. They change direction preparing to countercharge the rhinox that is being harrassed by lighter cavalry but don't close any distance. Behind them a unit of greatswords waits to support; they also hide behind a building - safe from magic, missile and melee.

The horde plods forward; slowly climbing fences and making sure they don't trip up. The guts and thundertusk keeping pace. At this pace though the thundertusk can throw another snowball at the horde and another 7 fall. The ogre on top feels he is doing something, but fails to connect again with the bolt thrower.

On the right flank, the rhinox sees the threat of the cavalry charge and encourages his beast out of the way, but both he and the other can take aim at the pisoliers. Safe from being charged they shoot and 2 of the pistoliers fall.

The leadbelchers have reloaded and with the heavy cavalry still in their sights, repeat their last shot and another three of the heavy knights are dispatched.

The maneaters are not as lucky, they try for a tricky shot and aim at the wizard, but all their shots go wide and ineffectual.

On the left flank both units get ready to charge. It should be an easy trip for the mournfang and possible for the slower rhinox; but with injured leg the rhinox fails to make momentum, and the mournfang pause to wait for the full charge... a costly mistake.

Cannons again fire and the second ball hits the rhinox square, knocking him from perch dead.

The volley gun and one unit of crossbows target the ogre horde and whittle a couple down. The second unit of crossbowmen target the central unit of mournfang who have been lured into the open by a tempting unit of free company. One falls. The other looks to his general for inspiration, finds it and pressed on.

The empire heavy cavalry turn to prepare a charge on something slower than the rhinox and has two targets in the maneaters and the belchers. The great swords remain in cover, and the pistoliers continue to harrass the other rhinox.

But the ogres have got closer. And the shadow wizard on her horse is prepared. Summoning more magic that expected she drains the battlefield of energy temporarily, and a couple of the spearman are a little close to the arcane forces - but it was worth it... the shadow remains unhurt and a vortex of unimaginable energy opens up underneath the horde. Five of the monsters are sucked into the abyss, lost.

Spurred on by the death of their friend the mournfang charge the cannon crew, who don't stand a chance, and their impetous takes them then into the volley gun. The gunners who had been cowering decide it is time to run. The other mournfang charge the tempting free company; who, in fleeing, cause further panic in the crossbowmen.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Ogres vs Empire
The right flank folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

Guts and horde plod forward still. The general is upset by the sparse shape of his horde and centres his men on him to form a solid block.

Thundertusk repeats its previous course with the ogre missing and the snowball crushing a few more from the horde. The sound of gunpowder fills the battle field as the rhinox shoot down the last of the fast cavalry, and the leadbelchers again shoot at the knights, killing one; the maneaters shots finally bite home and one piece of shrapnel catchs the wizard. These tricksy maneaters not only can choose their targets, but their shots are laced with poison!

The empire also reform, and the wizard steps out behind the unit free from being shot. The fleeing crossbowmen regain compusure and form a block on the top of the hill.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Ogres vs Empire
Both sides dressed ranks ... and there were no more hordes.

The heavy cavalry try to charge down the belchers, but fails to break the unit. One belcher lies dead as three more knights fall.

The other crossbows shoot ineffectually at the maneaters, and magic is a non-event.

The ogres are feeling the momentum and destroying another war machine and the engineer, the newly formed block of crossbowmen decide to leave the battlefield.

Having seen the devastation from the shadow wizard the mournfang on the hill turns and takes aim, shooting and killing the unprotected mage. He eyes up the other wizard.

One rhinox dodges the greatswords potential charge, and also gets behind the lines. The other prepares to help the leadbelchers if the fight turns sour.

The maneaters target the general. The belchers and knights trade blows.

A second direct hit from the snowball and the horde dwindles further.

The remaining crossbowmen fire at the maneaters and this time bite into their thick armour. The cannon jams. The horde prepare themselves for the charge. The greatswords likewise.

The fight continues on between the belchers and the knight; and the captain falls.

Then the empire try to call on the arcane, the ogres smash their hellheart. Little happens, two crossbowmen fall foul and the winds dissipate.

The mournfang on the hill charges down to the wizard of light, who flees into the maneaters firing arc, and is peppered with toxic holes. The mourngang manages to reach the rear of the small unit of crossbows instead... with devastating effect. The severly depleted horde seeing their friends crushed underfoot; more of them under snowballs, and their wizards killed: flee from the battle field.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Ogres vs Empire
Round the ragged ranks the ragged Rhinox ran.

The ogre cavalry rear and face the remaining greatsword threat.

The belchers vanquish the last of the knights.

The guts and horde stand strong in the centre.

The greatswords ready themselves again for the charge.

And a cannon clips the back of one of the mournfang riders... it was not enough to stop it.

Three mournfang and a rhinox bear down on the greatswords. Their charge creating carnage that was amplified by crushing blows and the greatswords were defeated without striking a blow.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Ogres vs Empire
Even after they turned to face the Ogres, it didn't help.

The thundertusk flings one last snowball in the direction of the only remaining empire unit. It is a direct hit, but does not manage to destroy the structure.

The cannon fires one last time trying to take out at least one of the mournfangs. It hurts, but does not kill.

Result: 3190 ogres vs 555 empire


  1. A fine account of the sad tale of two hordes that desperately wanted to get together, but fate intervened.

    I can't remember a more comprehensive thumping (at least, not on the receiving end of one). Mind you, I reckon I was only 50-60 favourable dice rolls away from victory...

  2. Damn those Ogres, invincible as ever. I'd love to see the army lists for this if possible?

  3. The Ogres were abetted by some pretty inept generalship on my part (and the fact that the Empire army was artificially fluffed-out to 3,000pts - I had to stuff a lot of useless expensive items in there).

    For my part, the Empire list is identical to the one in the subsequent post (Empire vs Vampire).

  4. And I now see that I was using the old Dogs of War 'light cannon' rules, rather than Empire Great Cannon - so I should have been inflicting D6 wounds, not D3.

    That might have come in handy...